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Herkimer's Board of Education discusses possible cuts for next year

By WKTV News

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Herkimer School District's Board of Education is trying to figure out a way to make ends meet for the next school year. When the board met on Wednesday night, the members discussed possible cuts that might end up in the budget proposal.

The board was talking about eliminating roughly seven positions, which would save the district nearly half a million dollars. One of those positions would be eliminated through retirement.
"It is difficult, it is frustrating, said Board Member John Cipriano. "You can see the toll it is taking on our administration as they anguish over trying to do more and more and more each year with less and less and less."

The board has to come up with a budget without really knowing what sort of state aid it can expect and with a possible merger in the future with the Mohawk and Ilion Districts.

"That's the balancing act that we are into right now. We're attempting to come up with the best possible budget we can for the next school year here in Herkimer, given the funding and the costs we have facing us right now," said Cipriano. "Unfortunately, we're going to have to make cuts."

Cipriano says last year they waited to inform the public about budget cuts til the very end. This year, they are opening up the process, and inviting the public to the meetings so everyone has a better idea of where the finances stand. "Hopefully folks will be able to say 'Yes, we know what's going on. We know what we're looking at in terms of potential cuts and we understand why we're cutting this instead of that, ' " said Cipriano.

Cipriano says that if the merger with Ilion and Mohawk moves forward, there is a possibility that any teacher whose position is eliminated will be hired back. "It's never an easy thing, to take someone's livelihood away from them..you are dealing with folks who are so committed to the education of our children...you'd like to say it's a business decision..but it's very personal," says Cipriano. "The merger is the light at the end of the tunnel that we are looking at right now, but that's a year off at this point."

The final budget proposal will be presented at the next board meeting. The board will take a look at it-- and by the end of March have a budget ready to present to the people. Tax payers will vote on the budget proposal in May.


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